Jane Buckner, M.D., is the President of the Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason (BRI), the Director of Translational Research at BRI, and affiliate Professor of Medicine in the Division of Rheumatology at the University of Washington, Seattle. Dr. Buckner received her undergraduate degree in chemistry from Carleton College and medical degree from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. She completed her residency at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Buckner went on to complete a rheumatology fellowship at the University of Washington. After completing her medical training, Dr. Buckner continued her research training as a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Gerald Nepom. Since 1999, Dr. Buckner has been an investigator at the Benaroya Research Institute (BRI). She became the Director of the Translational Research Program at BRI in 2005, was named Associate Director of BRI in January 2012, and was appointed President of BRI in January 2016.
Dr. Buckner’s research is focused on identifying the underlying the cellular and molecular mechanisms responsible for the dysregulation of the adaptive immune response in the setting of human autoimmune diseases. Her laboratory is currently addressing the question of how autoreactive T and B cells escape regulation in autoimmune diseases, and the closely related question of whether the development or function of regulatory T cells is impaired in autoimmunity. Her ongoing studies investigating the autoimmune response in type 1 diabetes aim to advance our understanding of the role of T and B cell signaling in the pathogenesis of diabetes, and are influenced by her studies of other autoimmune diseases. Specifically, Dr. Buckner is determining whether islet specific T cells from patients with diabetes are refractory to normal regulatory signals. She is also defining the mechanisms by which cytokine signaling pathways are altered in diabetes, and how this altered signaling affects T cell function. She is also determining the functional and synergistic impact of genetic variants associated with type 1 diabetes on the adaptive immune response.
The goal of all of Dr. Buckner’s research is to improve the medical care of people with type 1 diabetes by translating findings in her laboratory into the clinic. An example of her translational focus is her work, in collaboration with Jeffrey Bluestone and Kevan Herold, developing islet specific regulatory T cells as a therapeutic approach for type 1 diabetes. In addition, Dr. Buckner was instrumental in establishing the Translational Research Program at the Benaroya Research Institute. As the Director of this program, Dr. Buckner oversees a large repository of biological samples from both healthy individuals and individuals with autoimmune diseases. This biorepository is an invaluable resource for scientists and accelerates their understanding of human autoimmune diseases.
Dr. Buckner has published over 100 peer-reviewed papers and is funded by the US National Institutes of Health and the Department of Defense and JDRF. She serves as chair of the Cooperative Study Group for Autoimmune Disease Prevention of the National Institutes of Health and an active member of the Type 1 TrialNet Biomarker and Mechanisms Panel. Dr. Buckner is also director of the Seattle Centers of Excellence for the Federation of Clinical Immunology Societies.